Switching from Linux to FreeBSD, where to start?

Nikaea

New Member

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Hi, I briefly searched for any threads on switching from Linux to FreeBSD. I'm planning on doing this with a modern computer and two decade-old Apples.

Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting. Any direction you can point me to would be gratly appreciated.
 

balanga

Son of Beastie

Reaction score: 151
Messages: 3,234

Hi, I briefly searched for any threads on switching from Linux to FreeBSD. I'm planning on doing this with a modern computer and two decade-old Apples.

Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting. Any direction you can point me to would be gratly appreciated.

Presumably you want to install FreeBSD on a different computer/disk.

Just go ahead an install it.

This is a good place to start... Also browse this forum. Come back if you get stuck.

Remember FreeBSD is an operating system. It does not come bundle with a GUI. You have to add that yourself.

You may want to have a look at http://nomadbsd.org/ to see what can be done with it.
 

chrbr

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 253
Messages: 686

Dear Nikaea,
welcome to FreeBSD! In best case you can just start with a spare computer or at least with a spare disk. Than you save the step to mess with grub or any other boot manager. I am not sure about the video edit and podcasting. There is a link from the FreeBSD page to the ports where you can check what is available. https://www.freshports.org/ is fine as well. About the installation just start with the current version 11.2 and use the packages and not ports. Do not miss the page of one of our gurus http://wonkity.com/~wblock/docs/.
When I switched from Linux to FreeBSD I found the transition not complicated. The configurations of the user related tools are more or less similar. Just check the video stuff you need. Regarding the system itself the documentation is excellent.
 

ShelLuser

Son of Beastie

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Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting.
The best source of information in my opinion is the FreeBSD handbook. It addresses a wide variety of different topics, all related to FreeBSD. From setting up specific services for handing e-mail and websites, to setting up a desktop.

The main point for concern when setting up a desktop is to make sure that your graphics card is supported. But that's more related to Xorg than FreeBSD itself. Always keep in mind that FreeBSD is basically the base OS, no more and no less. Everything else (such as Xorg and all other different software) is not part of this and gets installed "on top". So basically it's not really part of FreeBSD itself.

Anyway, the best tip I have for you: realize that FreeBSD is not Linux. There are some similarities (for example you use ls on both environments to get a directory listing, you can install Xorg and other related software, and so on) but that doesn't mean that things you're possibly familiar with on Linux also work that way on FreeBSD. They usually don't.

This experience starts with the manual pages. FreeBSD's documentation in comparison to that of Linux is a day and night difference. Almost everything can be found using the manual pages.

Want to know more about configuring the SSH service (in other words: need to know more about /etc/ssh/sshd_config)? Easy: man sshd_config which points you to sshd_config(5). Setting up a DNS resolver? resolv.conf(5). And so on...

Also: apropos(1) can be an invaluable command to find the information you're looking for.
 

fernandel

Aspiring Daemon

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Messages: 858

Hi, I briefly searched for any threads on switching from Linux to FreeBSD. I'm planning on doing this with a modern computer and two decade-old Apples.

Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting. Any direction you can point me to would be gratly appreciated.
I am using iMac 11,1 for FreeBSD without problems.
Check https://glenbarber.us/2011/11/12/Dual-Booting-OS-X-and-FreeBSD-9.html and maybe help you.
I have dual boot still and I am using REFIt.
 

ahriman

New Member

Reaction score: 2
Messages: 9

The main thing that will grind your gears is getting wifi up.

Replace if_iwm with your wireless card's module, and change the wlans_ line to reflect that change as well.

/etc/rc.conf:
Code:
kld_list="if_iwm"
wlans_iwm0="wlan0"
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA DHCP"
Then the format of wpa_supplicant...

/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf:
Code:
ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
eapol_version=2
ap_scan=1
fast_reauth=1

network={
  ssid="wifi-access-point-ssid-goes-here"
  psk="p4ssw0rd"
}
Then restart the service

service netif restart

For laptops, you can specify multiple networks in separate network={} blocks and specify a priority as well, so it will connect with the corresponding network based on whether it's visible and at the right priority relative to the other listings. FreeBSD also makes it pretty easy to utilize WPA Enterprise if you're at university or use it at work

Chances are, whatever software you're using in Linux now will be available under freebsd.

Check here: http://freshports.org
And if it isn't available immediately: https://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/linuxemu.html
 

scottro

Daemon

Reaction score: 535
Messages: 1,471

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/a-comparative-introduction-to-freebsd-for-linux-users might be a bit useful. While we like FreeBSD (or we would't be here) sometimes that liking does have us glide over the faults. Some hardware supported on Linux may not be as well supported on FreeBSD--for example, I don't think any wireless cards can do 802.11ac speed. The handbook can often be out of date, especially with 3rd party programs. If you're using it as a desktop, there are certain programs that run on Linux that won't on FreeBSD--for example, you can't play Netflix (though FreeBSD plays a large part of its distribution. )

On the other hand, if running say, an apache or mail server, it will be quite similar though some paths will differ. You may even want to try it in a virtual machine first, to see if most of the stuff you want to use works properly.

EDIT: Looking at the OP, most of the programs in Linux should be available for FreeBSD for what you're discussing. Most video editing stuff, firefox, mail programs, all should be available. (I don't know about podcasting, never was involved in it, but I suspect that most Linux programs for it would be available in FreeBSD).
 
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Nikaea

Nikaea

New Member

Reaction score: 5
Messages: 18

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/a-comparative-introduction-to-freebsd-for-linux-users might be a bit useful. While we like FreeBSD (or we would't be here) sometimes that liking does have us glide over the faults. Some hardware supported on Linux may not be as well supported on FreeBSD--for example, I don't think any wireless cards can do 802.11ac speed. The handbook can often be out of date, especially with 3rd party programs. If you're using it as a desktop, there are certain programs that run on Linux that won't on FreeBSD--for example, you can't play Netflix (though FreeBSD plays a large part of its distribution. )

On the other hand, if running say, an apache or mail server, it will be quite similar though some paths will differ. You may even want to try it in a virtual machine first, to see if most of the stuff you want to use works properly.

EDIT: Looking at the OP, most of the programs in Linux should be available for FreeBSD for what you're discussing. Most video editing stuff, firefox, mail programs, all should be available. (I don't know about podcasting, never was involved in it, but I suspect that most Linux programs for it would be available in FreeBSD).
That's good to know. I'll have to check out if that MacBook Pro I believe circa 2009 or 8 would work. Well, there is a Hackintosh group, perhaps there is a *NIX/Apple hardware group somewhere.

Much appreciate your help!
 
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Nikaea

Nikaea

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Reaction score: 5
Messages: 18

Presumably you want to install FreeBSD on a different computer/disk.

Just go ahead an install it.

This is a good place to start... Also browse this forum. Come back if you get stuck.

Remember FreeBSD is an operating system. It does not come bundle with a GUI. You have to add that yourself.

You may want to have a look at http://nomadbsd.org/ to see what can be done with it.
Thanks that was my first pitfall emulating it. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
 
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Nikaea

Nikaea

New Member

Reaction score: 5
Messages: 18

Dear Nikaea,
welcome to FreeBSD! In best case you can just start with a spare computer or at least with a spare disk. Than you save the step to mess with grub or any other boot manager. I am not sure about the video edit and podcasting. There is a link from the FreeBSD page to the ports where you can check what is available. https://www.freshports.org/ is fine as well. About the installation just start with the current version 11.2 and use the packages and not ports. Do not miss the page of one of our gurus http://wonkity.com/~wblock/docs/.
When I switched from Linux to FreeBSD I found the transition not complicated. The configurations of the user related tools are more or less similar. Just check the video stuff you need. Regarding the system itself the documentation is excellent.
Thanks chrbr, if it works out, I'll have a very stable machine I can work on every day. The software I use is simple. I'm a third of the way there. I'll use a spare I have. Thanks!
 

scottro

Daemon

Reaction score: 535
Messages: 1,471

I think lots of folks here use Apple hardware and may be able to help as well. I _think_ you might have trouble with wireless, but I could be wrong. I just feel as if I've seen some issues with it. https://wiki.freebsd.org/AppleMacbook
is the wiki article, but the wiki is way out of date, talking about FreeBSD 8.

Try googling FreeBSD Macbook pro 2008, there were a bunch of hits, don't know how many may be useful. Keep in mind that the install media enables you to go to a shell to see what's recognized. But, sometimes, especially with wireless, you will have to load some modules, possibly add things to /boot/loader.conf and an install may be necessary. Also, if wireless turned out to be impossible, there are a few USB to wireless devices that work. The Edimax 7811UN is cheap and is one of them. (Though it's not that fast, as mentioned you won't get 802.11ac speed on anything at this point.)

I could be completely wrong about wireless though, and here's an article about running it from a USB drive which would be a great way to test.

https://imil.net/blog/2017/07/31/Running-FreeBSD-from-an-USB-stick-on-a-MacBook-Pro/
 
D

Deleted member 45312

Guest


Hi, I briefly searched for any threads on switching from Linux to FreeBSD. I'm planning on doing this with a modern computer and two decade-old Apples.

Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting. Any direction you can point me to would be gratly appreciated.
A FreeBSD 11 Desktop How-to
 
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Nikaea

Nikaea

New Member

Reaction score: 5
Messages: 18

Thanks, makes me wonder if TrueOS is worth it or a direct plunge into FreeBSD.
I think lots of folks here use Apple hardware and may be able to help as well. I _think_ you might have trouble with wireless, but I could be wrong. I just feel as if I've seen some issues with it. https://wiki.freebsd.org/AppleMacbook
is the wiki article, but the wiki is way out of date, talking about FreeBSD 8.

Try googling FreeBSD Macbook pro 2008, there were a bunch of hits, don't know how many may be useful. Keep in mind that the install media enables you to go to a shell to see what's recognized. But, sometimes, especially with wireless, you will have to load some modules, possibly add things to /boot/loader.conf and an install may be necessary. Also, if wireless turned out to be impossible, there are a few USB to wireless devices that work. The Edimax 7811UN is cheap and is one of them. (Though it's not that fast, as mentioned you won't get 802.11ac speed on anything at this point.)

I could be completely wrong about wireless though, and here's an article about running it from a USB drive which would be a great way to test.

https://imil.net/blog/2017/07/31/Running-FreeBSD-from-an-USB-stick-on-a-MacBook-Pro/
Thanks dlegrand, that helps a lot. Actually a French friend of mine is trying to do the same. This might help us both. Should never call a Corsican French :)
 
D

Deleted member 45312

Guest


Thanks, makes me wonder if TrueOS is worth it or a direct plunge into FreeBSD.
I think you will learn a lot with FreeBSD. My wife which knows nothing in IT is using it on his Toshiba laptop for day-to-day use.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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Messages: 1,805

Never let it be said I missed an opportunity at self-promotion or that I am not successful at it. Here's my beginners tutorial, posted last summer, which is currently ranked #1 on a google search for "FreeBSD Desktop Tutorial":

Beginners Guide - How To Set Up A FreeBSD Desktop From Scratch.

My site, where I have the tutorial, DE and WM screenshots and free wallpapers is ranked 5th and 6th on that same search.
 

rufwoof

Active Member

Reaction score: 76
Messages: 235

Why not run both. I do. BSD data server, Linux desktop. Desktop is a Linux LiveCD (DVD) with no HDD, BSD data server (behind a second router with no port forwarding) reverse sshfs mounts one of its folders on my desktop whenever the desktop is booted. That can work across multiple devices and to anywhere in the world if you use a dynamic dns for your desktop (fixed domain name that the server can ssh to, associated with a dynamic IP address (whatever IP your desktop is allocated) wherever you are). Only requires whatever device you are using as your desktop to support ddns and sshd (i.e. relatively lightweight). Being reverse sshfs and with the firewall/router blocking inbound ssh connections its relatively secure,
 

shepper

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 295
Messages: 833

There seem to be two mindsets as far as desktops; the first is to install a given DE (Gnome, KDE Plasma, Xfce4, LXQT, LXDE, Enligtenment) and learn to use the applications that come with that desktop. The second is to build the Desktop with the applications your prefer. The BSD's really excel at the second option.

If your mindset is the former, you will not find your FreeBSD desktop to be much different than LInux in actual use.
 
D

Deleted member 45312

Guest


Why not run both. I do.
I am running FreeBSD for the desktop since 1999. No need to run Linux. That's not the same for Windows, lot of professional software does not run on *NIX.
 

scottro

Daemon

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Messages: 1,471

Coming in a couple of weeks late to this, I think it's worth mentioning that Michael Lucas has just released Absolute FreeBSD 3rd edition. For those unfamiliar with his work, he strikes, IMHO, almost a perfect balance between technical and understandable. https://nostarch.com/absfreebsd3

If you just get the electronic version, there's a still a discount (and though it mentions only the PDF, Nostarch also offers the epub and mobi versions with that purchase. (I don't work for Mr. Lucas or Nostarch, but I consider his books to be really helpful and Nostarch to be one of the nicer publishers). It covers FreeBSD-11.x and 12.x
 

ahriman

New Member

Reaction score: 2
Messages: 9

Coming in a couple of weeks late to this, I think it's worth mentioning that Michael Lucas has just released Absolute FreeBSD 3rd edition. For those unfamiliar with his work, he strikes, IMHO, almost a perfect balance between technical and understandable. https://nostarch.com/absfreebsd3

If you just get the electronic version, there's a still a discount (and though it mentions only the PDF, Nostarch also offers the epub and mobi versions with that purchase. (I don't work for Mr. Lucas or Nostarch, but I consider his books to be really helpful and Nostarch to be one of the nicer publishers). It covers FreeBSD-11.x and 12.x
Michael Lucas' book Absolute OpenBSD 2nd Edition helped me in my jump from Linux to BSD which was, initially, to OpenBSD and later to FreeBSD. He really demystifies the whole experience.
 

HD Scania

Member


Messages: 20

The best way to be an BSD newbie is to install Trident (project-trident.org), which inherits the Lumina shell from TrueOS (now has been just a core system, Trident has now been still based on TrueOS) which I start tasting BSD thru TrueOS. :cool:
Another choices are GhostBSD and MidnightBSD, both projects are focused on desktops distro just like Trident. :)
Hi, I briefly searched for any threads on switching from Linux to FreeBSD. I'm planning on doing this with a modern computer and two decade-old Apples.
Is there a thread dedicated to us poor learners? At this stage, I want a computer where I can use Firefox, check emails, write, quick edit videos and audio, with podcasting. Any direction you can point me to would be gratly appreciated.
 
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Nikaea

Nikaea

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Messages: 18

The best way to be an BSD newbie is to install Trident (project-trident.org), which inherits the Lumina shell from TrueOS (now has been just a core system, Trident has now been still based on TrueOS) which I start tasting BSD thru TrueOS. :cool:
Another choices are GhostBSD and MidnightBSD, both projects are focused on desktops distro just like Trident. :)
Thanks,

I tried MidnightBSD and DragonFly, but never GhostBSD. I haven't been able to run Trident or TrueOS under this machine Arch/Boxes. I'll try VirtualBox next.
 
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